Town purchases new equipment for the highway department
Four brand-new vehicles: a utility body truck, a backhoe, a pay loader and a brush hog have arrived on the island in recent days.
Highway Superintendent Kevin Deacon said he and his crew were very happy to have the new equipment to use, not just because they’re shiny and state-of-the-art, but because they increase productivity and get more work done.
Town Councilman Bill Kelly said the new equipment “signals a new philosophy in Jamestown.” He added, “This department doesn’t deserve to work with hand-me-downs and old broken stuff anymore.”
Kelly said having to constantly battle with end-of-life equipment “is demoralizing” to the workers and “costs the town money” in lost time on the road.
Town Administrator Bruce Keiser said the town financed $550,000 over five years to buy the new equipment, which also includes a street sweeper that arrived a couple of months ago, and two dump trucks, which are still on order. In all, the equipment cost $636,066, $80,000 of which was a set-aside from capital funds in the annual budget.
At 3.96 percent interest, the annual finance charges of about $12,000 will be less than the cost to keep old equipment on the road, Keiser said.
Deacon added that before the street sweeper was replaced, the town spent about $12,000 over the course of just two years to keep that one vehicle in service.
The new equipment will be used on the “front lines” of town maintenance and cleanup projects and that older equipment can now be used as “reserves” as needed, Deacon said.
The utility-body truck replaces an old pickup used years ago by the town animal control officer. Ramon Ibarlucea, who does building maintenance for the town, said the new $65,231 utility truck is a big improvement and even has a crane on the back to lift heavy objects.
“This thing can do everything,” Deacon added.
Price tags on the new equipment include $105,625 for the John Deere pay loader, $85,282 for the John Deere backhoe, $93,230 for the New Holland brush hog, and the dump trucks will cost $85,082 and $75,116, Keiser said, adding that the numbers were net after trade-in amounts.